If you have been part of the Christian culture for any length of time, you might have heard the phrase “you are made in God’s image”. That statement is one I know in my head but sometimes have a hard time getting my heart to believe and receive it.
In order to attempt to have a healthy body image, we must first look at where the word image originated.
Genesis 1:27 tells us God made mankind in his image. This word “image” in the Bible is translated in Hebrew as “selem” meaning “idol, image, replica, likeness”. In other words, it is an aspect of God’s creation of humanity that distinguishes people from the rest of creation. In fact, the word image is used, in different contexts, two hundred twenty-nine times throughout the Bible.
I think many of us have read the verses about being made in God’s image but the disconnect comes in a few forms:
- We believe God made mankind in his image, but not Rachael (feel in the blank for your name).
- We believe God made us in his spitting image, which would mean we should look identical to him in perfection.
Let’s start by tackling the lie that He only made some people in His image.
First, ask yourself if you believe that the Bible was God-breathed and that every word in it is true. Many of us won’t admit this with our mouths but there are some parts of the Bible we question. Take it to God. Tell him what you don’t understand or have a hard time believing. The author of the book is the only one capable of bringing clarity to chapters, so ask Him.
Consider my family of origin and the five kids it encompasses. None of us look identical to each other or our parents. However, if you looked at us individually you would see we all belong to that family. The same is true in God’s family. None of us look identical, even twins have different fingerprints, but we all resemble the image of God. It is expressed uniquely in each one of us, which is why comparison robs us of the unique gifts God has placed within each person.
Questions to bring to God: What do you see in me? What traits, both physical and spiritual, are a replica of you?
Next, let’s talk about this current culture that thinks perhaps God made mankind in his spitting image. Diet culture teaches to do more, push harder, and maybe, just maybe, you too can maintain perfection in your appearance.
As someone who has spent years of her life, energy, and money in pursuit of the perfect body, I will confess that it simply does not exist. I have come close to what some would call perfection but at the end of the day, it left me empty, exhausted, broke and depressed.
God never asked for perfection out of us our body. God does not age. He does not get sunburned. He is perfection. Our pursuit of perfection in our appearance is an attempt to be God, which as we know from satan’s story, always comes before the fall.
Here are the truths I leave you with for today:
- YOU are made in His image.
- YOU are fearfully and wonderfully made, wrinkles, freckles, extra fat and all.
I don’t expect you to accept all of this in one reading. But I do pray it opens up a healthy dialogue on this topic. Take some time to pray and journal about this with God. He would love to show you how He sees YOU.
In it with you,